Zero Waste Challenge – final week

This is the fourth and final week of my zero waste challenge, which I have been doing in June with Kelly from Our Little Organic Life. I must apologise for posting this so late, but our adventure in Bali will start in 4 short weeks and my blogging time had to give way to preparations. If you missed the previous weeks you can catch up and learn about our zero waste journey here, here and here. I’ve just given you lots of links to follow, but I hope you are still here with me! So, let’s see how we got on with our last week of the Zero Waste Challenge.


What we did this week

We have received our second box from Riverford, which I hoped would be the perfect marriage for zero waste and organic fruit and veg. For the moment I think that it is a good compromise, as it is by far the most convenient way of having all the fruit and veg organic, and of course it is delivered to my door. The downside is that there is some packaging. Riverford is happy to take it back and recycle it, but this is not the zero waste ideal.

Here is what we received this week:

riverford organic zero waste mumbalance

I have finally had a chance to shop in a bulk store! I have really enjoyed my visit to the Dry Goods Store. I have taken advantage of Little S sleeping peacefully in the buggy and had a good long chat with lovely Yasmeen – the founder of the store. It is interesting that she has selected a location in a well to do area of London (Maida Vale), hoping that the educated locals would be interested in following the zero waste lifestyle. She has been there 3 years and the majority of customers are like me, already interested in zero waste and travelling especially to buy in her shop. To keep the business going she had to compromise and has paper bags for those who do not bring their own containers. She also sells good quality, organic and fair trade products in recyclable packaging like glass jars.

the dry goods store zero waste bulk shop mumbalance

The biggest reward for going to the Dry Goods Store was buying package-less pasta! I am so glad to have found it, as all the pasta seems to come in non-recyclable packaging. The store has lots of other package-less things like: various teas, spices, selection of rice varieties, pulses, porridge, quinoa, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate buttons, olive oil. I have been sent some Onya Weigh produce bags and these have been very helpful for buying in bulk (you can see the bags in the main picture – full review coming soon!). Just like a small plastic bag they don’t really weight a thing, which means the scales don’t have to be adjusted. At the same time they can hold a lot and are very strong.

bulk shop spices zero waste mumbalance

Talking bulk, I have also found that my local-ish Holland and Barrett has a bulk section of nuts and dried fruit – it does seem to be quite expensive though. They do however have a variety of oils and vinegar you can pour into your own bottle.

zero waste bulk shop mumbalance

I am still waiting for a reply from Waitrose about their policy on using plastic sheets when cutting and handling cheese. They have been in touch to let me know that I will have my answer shortly, so watch this space.

I have had a reply from my council and this is what they had to say about why I can’t put compostable items like hair and nail clippings in my food waste caddy:

”The waste is anaerobically digested, in a sealed system. The process uses naturally occurring micro-organisms to break down the organic matter into fertiliser whilst also producing biogas. The biogas is converted into electricity and heat using a combined heat and power (CHP) engine. The bio fertiliser is used on farm land to grow crops.
The process used is prescribed by law, certified by the Animal Health Agency and regularly monitored by the Environment Agency.
Please be advised that the food waste caddy is to be only used for food waste material. If you wish to compost items such as nail clippings, you can purchase a compost bin at your local DIY store.”


This is a great way of dealing with compostable waste and I am very happy that I have swapped from in sink food disposal to food waste caddy.

We were supposed to make yoghurt this week, but once again it did not happen. Partly because the weather is finally drier and we are spending more time at the park. And partly because my energy levels have been particularly low this week. It seems that 5 months of broken sleep has finally caught up with me…


Are we producing less rubbish?

We have reduced our recycling considerably. Before the challenge we would produce 2-3 full 50 liter bins. Now our weekly recycling is contained in one bin, and it’s not even full. I am very happy to see such a big difference to our rubbish output after only a month of adjusting to a zero waste lifestyle.

I am not sure that we have actually produced less land fill waste, as I have never paid particular attention to that bin. Unlike recycling bin it never filled up quickly, so I am not sure how many times a month I would actually take it out. In any case this month we have produced a full 22 liter bin.

I must confess that because I have tried to go zero waste cold turkey we had to go without quite a few things, which my family was not very happy about. Just before the challenge was finished we had a melt down day and ended up buying a sushi take away in polystyrene and  plastic packaging…. It was like going on a starvation diet, only to binge on food afterwards.

I think from now on I will introduce the changes more gradually to avoid this yo-yo effect on our bin!


zero waste step by step guide mumbalance